Bats: Right • Throws: Right
5-10, 160lb (178cm, 72kg)
Born: March 12, 1942 (Age: 78-015d) in Cincinnati, OH
High School: Taft HS (Cincinnati, OH)
School: Central State University (Wilberforce, OH)
Debut: July 10, 1963 (Age 21-120d, 9,736th in MLB history)
vs. PIT 4 AB, 1 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 SB
Last Game: September 27, 1977 (Age 35-199d)
vs. CAL 1 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB
Died: March 26, 2020
Full Name: James Sherman Wynn
Nicknames: The Toy Cannon
Jimmy Wynn Baseball Reference Page
View Player Bio from the SABR BioProject
|Career Batting Stats|
Jimmy Wynn, the Astros’ first slugging star. The cavernous dimensions of the Astrodome masked his raw power, and the immense value of his patience at the plate (he drew as many as 90 walks in eight different seasons), excellent defense, and stellar baserunning ability were somewhat lost as he played for mediocre teams most of his career. The speedy, 5’9″ outfielder also had an explosive bat – hence the nickname, the Toy Cannon. When he left Houston after 11 seasons, he held club records in virtually every offensive category, including hits (1,291), home runs (223), and RBI (719).
Originally a shortstop, the Cincinnati native first signed with the Reds but was drafted from them by the expansion Houston club in 1962. In virtual obscurity, Wynn was switched to center field. In 1965, Wynn’s first full season, he led the Astros with a .275 batting average, 22 home runs, and 73 RBI. He also stole a career-high 43 bases, (in 47 tries) in, Houston GM Spec Richardson told Wynn that the team appreciated his baserunning ability, but that they preferred he work on his power. Two years later he broke club records with 37 HR and 107 RBI, but he struck out a league-high 137 times. Seeing fewer good pitches to hit in 1969, he tied the NL record with 148 walks, but still hit 33 HR.
Wynn’s career, and life, nearly ended when he was stabbed in the abdomen during a quarrel with his wife in December 1970. He recovered physically, but slumped dramatically in 1971, hitting just seven homers. He rebounded in 1972 (.273, 24 HR, 90 RBI), but another poor year in 1973 paved the way for his trade to the Dodgers for pitcher Claude Osteen. Wynn gave Los Angeles a desperately needed right-handed power hitter and replaced the recently traded Willie Davis in centerfield.
Wynn carried the pennant-winning Dodgers for the first part of 1974, hit three HR in a game for the second time in his career, set a Los Angeles record with 32 HR, and was named TSN NL Comeback Player of the Year. Nursing a sore elbow, he spent one more season with the Dodgers before being sent to Atlanta in a six-player deal for dusty Baker. He led the NL in walks a second time in 1976, but batted just .207, and split a final, dreadful, 1977 campaign between the Yankees and Brewers.
Notable Events and Chronology for Jim Wynn Career
In the first inning of a 5-2 loss to San Francisco, Jimmy Wynn is unable to catch Jim Ray Hart’s two-out routine fly ball when he loses the ball in the glare of diffused Texas sunlight streaming through plastic panes of the newly-opened Astrodome. The play, now a base-clearing inside-the-park three-run home run instead of an easy third out, results in the painting of the ballpark’s ceiling the next day and will lead to the use of Astroturf next season because the grass will be unable to be grown due to the reduced amount of sunlight.
The disappointing Pirates continue to flounder, splitting a pair with the last-place Astros, dropping the opener thanks in large part to outsize slugging by the “Toy Cannon”, Jimmy Wynn. Four of Houston’s eight runs ride home on Wynn’s two homers, the last of which is a three-run, tape-measure coup-de-grâce which puts Houston up by 8 before Pittsburgh even shows a pulse. The culminating “Cannon Shot” passes over the batting cage to the left of the 457-foot mark on the way out, putting it in the company of historic shots by Rogers Hornsby, Josh Gibson, Ralph Kiner, Dick Stuart and Roberto Clemente. As it turns out, the Pirates do eventually compete and what looked like icing will prove to be Houston’s margin of victory as they hold on and outlast Pittsburgh, 8 – 5.